“I won’t buy your book unless you allow me to read a story or two first,” a young lady at a craft fair explained. She said she had no intention of buying without trying. She also informed me that she did not know or care to know my Jesus. But she had an uncle whose birthday was coming up. He was a retired pastor and she thought it might be a book he’d enjoy.
I voiced no objection, cleared the seat next to me and patted it. I gave her a cup of coffee and told her I would attend to other customers as she read. I got lost in conversation with another buyer and didn’t look in the direction of the woman sitting next to me for well over five minutes.
People who write books do it for a variety of reasons. The writing is enjoyable to me, but the marketing can be daunting. At some point almost all of us have asked, “Why am I doing this?” It’s easy to become discouraged by few reviews, poor rankings or tiny royalty checks.
Then this woman who did not believe in my Jesus but had a pastor uncle who did, sat down to take my book for a test drive. When I had some breathing room from other customers, I looked at her and began to speak. The words I planned to share were prohibited in their progression when I observed tears rolling down her cheeks.
“Are you okay?” I asked.
She nodded and said, “Yes, Ma’am. I’m so moved by this piece I…”
In the silent space we shared, I prayed no one would invade. I waited. When she did not say anything for several minutes, I broke the silence.
“What story did you read?” I asked.
“‘Last Waltz’, the one about your work as an elf at an event where you danced with a dying child. It is beautifully written but so sad. Did it really happen?”
“Yes, all the stories in this book are true,” I told her.
“I’ll take three books please. Sign one for my Uncle Robert and one for me. Please sign the other without addressing it to anyone in particular. I don’t know who I’ll give that one to yet.”
I did as she asked. When she walked away with her package, I sat back in my chair and thanked God for opportunity to see the impact of the book in real time. This is a gift not often given to authors. I praised Him for revealing why He asks me to write and why I am unable to resist His request.
As I watched the young lady walk away, I heard a man clear his throat. “Did you write this book?” he asked, picking up a copy. “It looks interesting. I love the title, and the cover.”
He turned the book over to read the back cover and told me he too was an author who has published a few books.
“Would you mind if I read a story or two?” He asked.
“No, not at all,” I said, “Not at all.”
Copyright December 2018
Laura L. Padgett
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